There are many reasons why individuals try to break Guinness World Record titles.
But in the case of one schoolgirl in Japan, a record attempt was a way for her to regain her confidence.
13-year-old Fuyuki Kono entered the wind tunnel (indoor skydiving) facility in Saitama, Japan, on 23 July 2021 to attempt two records:
- Most front split spins in a wind tunnel in one minute
- Most 360 horizontal spins in a wind tunnel in one minute (individual)
Fuyuki's first experience of indoor skydiving was in Australia during her 10-month study abroad in 2018.
"It was a completely new feeling (floating inside a wind tunnel), and I was hooked. I haven't stopped since then," Fuyuki said.
She then went on to compete in the Freestyle kids intermediate category of the 2019 Australian Open Indoor Skydiving Championships in Sydney, which she ultimately won.
Because Japan doesn't have a large indoor skydiver population, Fuyuki hoped to participate in more overseas competitions; she even decided to study abroad long-term in Australia from 2020.
However, COVID-19 shattered all that.
"I could no longer compete, which caused me to not only lose my confidence but also made me want to give everything up."
The turning point for Fuyuki's recovery came when Mr. Kobayashi, her indoor sky diving coach, asked whether she would consider attempting some world records.
"At first, I thought I was never going to break it, but when I tried, I realized I might be able to."
Fuyuki decided to take on this record-breaking challenge as a confidence boost and to show people that indoor skydiving is an enjoyable sport.
"No matter where you go in the world, people doing indoor skydiving are kind and easy-going," she said.
It took Fuyuki two to three months of practice to prepare for the actual attempt.
The key to improvement was repetition.
"I repeated the movement over and over to go beyond my limit."
"Because the wind blows from the bottom up, a slight glitch in position could easily put me off balance. You can easily go off centre, and you could even hit the wall if you're not careful."
But after her months of training, and with staff, coaches and family gathered at the indoor skydiving facility, Fuyuki attempted the two records.
For the most front split spins in a wind tunnel in one minute, Fuyuki extended the record to 78 spins, and for the most 360 horizontal spins in a wind tunnel in one minute (individual), she spun 60 times to break the record.
"Receiving the official certificates and getting cheers from everyone really made me feel a sense of achievement. If I ever meet anyone who is thinking about attempting a record, I would encourage them to try."
Fuyuki also mentioned that her parents were a huge help to her in the lead up to the attempt.
"My mom, for instance, prepared meals with a balanced diet. My dad asked me whether I want to change the suit or wind level when I wasn't performing at my best.
"They were subtle in the way they supported me, which was immense. If they tried to support me more directly, I think I would've been annoyed!
"So I'm really thankful to my parents - I don't think I would have broken these records had it not been for their support."
With two records now under her belt, she hopes to improve her skill further.
"Whether it be a new skill in the wind tunnel or my school studies, I want to step up and get better. I also have one Guinness World Records title in mind that I would like to try and break."
As for recovering her confidence, it seems her record titles have helped her towards that goal.
"I'm not completely over it yet, but I'm feeling a lot better now."